Background and purpose: Curative radiotherapy/chemo-radiotherapy for head and neck cancer (HNC) may result in severe acute and late side effects, including tube feeding dependence. The purpose of this prospective cohort study was to develop a multivariable normal tissue complication probability (NTCP) model for tube feeding dependence 6 months (TUBEM6) after definitive radiotherapy, radiotherapy plus cetuximab or concurrent chemoradiation based on pre-treatment and treatment characteristics.
Materials and methods: The study included 355 patients with HNC. TUBEM6 was scored prospectively in a standard follow-up program. To design the prediction model, the penalized learning method LASSO was used, with TUBEM6 as the endpoint.
Results: The prevalence of TUBEM6 was 10.7%. The multivariable model with the best performance consisted of the variables: advanced T-stage, moderate to severe weight loss at baseline, accelerated radiotherapy, chemoradiation, radiotherapy plus cetuximab, the mean dose to the superior and inferior pharyngeal constrictor muscle, to the contralateral parotid gland and to the cricopharyngeal muscle.
Conclusions: We developed a multivariable NTCP model for TUBEM6 to identify patients at risk for tube feeding dependence. The dosimetric variables can be used to optimize radiotherapy treatment planning aiming at prevention of tube feeding dependence and to estimate the benefit of new radiation technologies. (C) 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.